Growing up…

Lexi of the hand trick and audio test video clips is growing up. I know I usually focus on video and related topics and this barely qualifies…but she took off for a three day workshop last night – getting ready for her summer stint at 4H camp. This time there’s a twist – she’s training to be a JC (junior counselor). A big step for her…moving from childhood to young adult.

In her mind she made that move this past August when she began high school. She understands the playbook. There are folks above and below you on the path of life. Treat those on either side with respect so you can earn it back. Be honest. That last one nearly earned her no camp due to a mixup in paperwork. She had to choose honesty and possibly not being allowed to be a JC or not mentioning the problem so she could be a JC – and she chose the former. Fortunately those in charge realized she was not at fault.

So this is number three nearly out the door. Number One (and she knows it) is Carol – debate coach in San Jose. She was an “only” for five years and loved it. Number Two we’re heading out to visit today: Pearl just got her first job a week ago at a casino in Reno as a prep chef. She dreams of eventually having her own funky hotel and restaurant, but is going through the necessary apprenticeship to learn her craft thoroughly. She’s also a Number One – she taught us that not every child is the same (big surprise for new parents). Where Carol is outgoing and loves people, Pearl is very private and opens up only with family and close friends. Finally there’s Number Three, Lexi. She brightens our lives at a time when many our age are grandparents. She will close the door on parenthood for us, perhaps at a time when other doors are opening.

I pause to reflect today because one of the reasons I left news was to be with family. Carol grew up accepting that mommy wasn’t home a lot and some days didn’t come home. All three girls had night terrors during the hot days of August and September when I would be out on the fire lines covering forest fires. They got used to me rushing out the door during a meal or waking up seeing me coming in the door after another middle-of-the-night callout. Teaching allows me to see more of them…although I am busier than ever. Lexi gets to ride to and from school with me, as did Pearl. I know how to plan weekends off now because I know I have them off. This time is precious…because I know, as do all news folk, that life is fragile and can be gone in an instant.

If you are still in news remember to kiss your family goodbye every day. I did and still do.

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